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Air du Nord

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Uploaded by: Agnus_Dei (07/19/12)
Composer: Wolstenholme, William
Sample Producer: Milan Digital Audio
Sample Set: Salisbury Cathedral Father Willis
Software: Hauptwerk IV
Genre: Romantic
I have always been somewhat fascinated by the works of William Wolstenholme. His compositions show superb craftsmanship and great "popular appeal."

"Air du Nord" is a delightful Allegretto in B-flat, and works perfectly on Salisbury. The composer is very specific about the "accelerandos" and "ritards," and I've followed the marks quite carefully.

The registration is simple, and "correct" for the style of the period. The theme is played on the Clarinet of the Solo organ, and the accompaniment on the Salicional (really a Dulciana!) of the Choir. The middle section dialogues the Claribel flute of the Great against the Open Diapason of the Swell.

Wolstenholme was born in Blackburn, Lancashire on 24 February 1865. He was blind from birth and was was educated at the Worcester College for the Blind Sons of Gentlemen. He showed considerable promise as a musician and impressed Henry Smart who agreed to take him as a pupil. Alas, Smart died before lessons began. He studied the violin under Edward Elgar. In 1887 he went up to Oxford University where he later graduated as a Bachelor of Music.
In 1888 he was appointed organist and choirmaster of St Paul’s Church, Blackburn and began to consolidate his position as a teacher, recitalist and improviser. Fourteen years later he accepted the post of organist at All Saint’s Church Norfolk Square, Paddington and afterwards at All Saints, St. John’s Wood. In 1908 he undertook a major concert tour of the United States. This secured his ‘international’ reputation. William Wolstenholme died in 1931.

Stylistically, he has been referred to as the ‘English Cesar Franck’ and although this may be unfair to both composers it is a reasonable rule of thumb and gives the listener a good idea of the kind and quality of music to expect. It is also possible that he can be bracketed with Alfred Hollins and Basil Harwood.
Performance: Live
Recorded in: Stereo
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